Buddhist Philosophy of Language in India

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Columbia University Press, 2010 - Philosophy - 204 pages
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"A readable, elegant translation and introduction to a central work in a neglected area of Buddhist philosophy."---Jonathan C. Gold, Princeton University

Jnanasrimitra (975-1025) was regarded by both Buddhists and non-Buddhists as the most important Indian philosopher of his generation. His theory of exclusion combined a philosophy of language with a theory of conceptual content to explore the nature of words and thought. Jnanasrimitra's theory informed much of the work accomplished at Vikramasila, a monastic and educatinal complex instrumental to the growth of Buddhism. His ideas were also passionately debated among successive Hindu and Jain philosophers.

This volume marks the first English translation of Jnanasrimitra's Monograph on Exclusion, a careful, critical investigation into language, perception, and conceptual awareness. Featuring the rival arguments of Buddhist and Hindu intellectuals, among other thinkers, the Monograph reflects more than half a millennium of competing claims while providing an invaluable introduction to a crucial philosopher. Lawrence J. McCrea and Parimal G. Patil familiarize the reader with the author, themes, and topics of the text and situate Jnanasrimitra's findings within his larger intellectual milieu. Their clear, accessible, and accurate translation proves the influence of Jnanasrimitra on the foundations of Buddhist and Indian philosophy.

"Lawrence J. McCrea and Parimal G. Patil have given us the best treatment to date of apoha, one of Buddhism's core contributions to epistemology and the philosophy of language, which seeks to account for thinking and language while `excluding' real universals. In addition to their pathbreaking exposition and innovative translation of an early eleventh-century Sanskrit masterpiece, McCrea and Patil demonstrate how historical contextualization, philological proficiency, and philosophical analysis must work together if the astonishing contributions of Indian thinkers to the history of philosophy are to be known effectively."---Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University, author of the Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India
 

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Contents

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03_mccr15094_ch2
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04_mccr15094_ch3
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05_mccr15094_abb
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06_mccr15094_notes
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08_mccr15094_ndx
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About the author (2010)

Lawrence J. McCrea is assistant professor of Sanskrit Studies at Cornell University and the author of The Teleology of Poetics in Medieval Kashmir.

Parimal G. Patil is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and author of Against a Hindu God: Buddhist Philosophy of Religion in India.

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